Home Page  
 
 

Schalcken the Painter
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.33:1 Standard
  • English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • English PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 2 Discs
FEATURES
  • Region B
  • The Pit (1962, Edward Abraham, 25 min): experimental gothic short adapted from Edgar Allen Poe's tale The Pit and the Pendulum.
  • The Pledge (Digby Rumsey, 1982, 22 min): a dark tale of death and friendship, featuring a score by Michael Nyman.
  • Look Into the Dark (2013, 40 min): the director of Schalcken the Painter discusses his career and influences.

Schalcken the Painter

Dual-Format Edition
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Leslie Megahey
1979 | 70 Minutes

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: £19.99 | Series: BFI Flipside | Edition: #28
BFI Video

Release Date: November 18, 2013
Review Date: November 17, 2013

Purchase From:
amazon.co.uk

Share:

SYNOPSIS

Based on a short story by Sheridan Le Fanu, Schalcken the Painter was originally shown in the Omnibus strand on BBC 2 during Christmas 1979. The story follows a young seventeenth century Flemish painter Godfried Schalcken, who forsakes love for ambition, but discovers that there is still a terrible price to pay for his choice.

One of the most frequently requested programmes in the BBC archive, Schalcken the Painter is an exquisitely shot, atmospheric horror film which explores the uneasy, dark relationship between art, commerce and erotic desire. The superb cast includes Jeremy Clyde, Maurice Denman and Cheryl Kennedy.


PICTURE

BFI presents Leslie Megaheyís Schalcken the Painter on Blu-ray in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this dual-layer disc. The transfer is presented in 1080p/24hz. The disc is locked for Region B.

The short 70-minute film (made for television) has a very unique visual style that appears to strive to recreate the look of some of the titled artistís work, setting up dark sequences with a single light source, and the Blu-ray beautifully renders it. Itís a dark looking film, with a colour scheme limited to browns and autumn colours, but the colours are natural and saturated nicely. Black levels are strong, rich and inky without any crushing, and contrast looks spot on.

It comes from a 16mm film source, so itís unsurprisingly fairly grainy, but itís cleanly rendered and natural. A minimal amount of damage is visible but the print is otherwise clean. To my understanding the film has been unseen for years, thought to be lost, so I wasnít sure what to expect with this but again BFI have delivered as sharp and pleasant an image as one could expect.

8/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

AUDIO

The film comes with a low-key but effective lossless PCM mono track. It doesnít have a lot of range and has an incredibly simple sound design, even lacking much in the way of dialogue but what is there is clean and discernable, pleasant enough to the ears.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

BFI digs a couple of other films out of the vaults for this edition, and even adds some new features.

We first get two short films, the first of which is The Pit, a 1962 experimental film by Edward Abraham based on Edgar Allen Poeís The Pit and the Pendulum. The film is a heavily stylized version of the story, borderline silent, using lighting, off-kilter camera angles, and close-ups to capture the main charactersí mental anguish. Itís a bit plodding but effective enough, and has some great visual moments. And though restoration appears to have been minimal the transfer itself is rather wonderful.

The Pledge is the second short, a 21-minute adaptation of Lord Dunsanyís The Highwayman. The story focuses on the corpse of a highwayman, hung out in full view as an ďexample.Ē His three criminal buddies then undertake the task of cutting the corpse down and giving him a burial. Itís another effective little ghost story of sorts, nicely shot in widescreen. What may be most odd about the film is the fact that it apparently played theatrically as the opening short to Porkyís.

BFI also includes a handful of sketches for The Pit, which is presented as a 49-second slide show. The disc then concludes with a rather lengthy making-of for Schalcken the Painter called Look Into the Dark, featuring interviews with director Leslie Megahey and director of photography John Hooper. Megahey gets most of the screen time and recalls the genesis of the project and the development of it. He delivers some interesting notes, like how he actually considered Vincent Price for the narrator, or how he actually tried to track down the central painting that is mentioned in the story, but it appears that the painting may never have actually existed and he had to have one created, similar in style to what Schalcken would have done. Megahey also mentions some influences (including Polish director Walerian Borowczyk surprisingly,) getting the look of the film, and what it was like making television films of this type. A rather interesting look into making the film and British television productions of the time, making it worth a viewing. This feature runs 39-minutes.

BFI then includes another one of their wonderful booklets. It first contains a rather lengthy and insightful essay by Ben Hervey, followed by essays for The Pit and The Pledge respectively written by James Bell and Vic Pratt. There is then a note on how The Pledge came to be and then a couple of notes on the other supplements.

Not loaded but the supplements are all effective and wonderful to go through.

6/10

CLOSING

Another great release in BFIís Flipside series, their Blu-ray delivers a strong transfer and a few decent supplements. It comes with a very high recommendation.




Share: 



Purchase From:
amazon.co.uk




Join our Facebook Group (requires Facebook account)

This site is not affiliated with The Criterion Collection